It’s been a relatively organic process the way this blog has step into a coma. It’s not dead, nor am I thinking about killing it, since Nihilsentimentalgia works as a memory replacement: if I can’t remember the name of this or that author, I can always find her/him here, for I never forget the images and use keywords to get where I want to go.
The teaching experience is, once again, at the heart of what’s been going on. Preparing new classes, new approaches, is often (incomparably) more rewarding for me than for my students. I enjoy the research process and usually get frustrated by not being able to convey how the chaotic sinapses work. I’ve been thinking about sharing some of the work done with students thruout the year, but new projects keep lurking at the door. I hope to be able to do that before the next school year begins, since writing about what happens helps me prepare for something better. We all know how these past months have been surreal and challenging, but apart from the online classes I’ve had some quality creative time. Most of what’s been happening regarding that can be seen at Tira-Olhos’ website.
Time plays tricks and I refuse to give in to its urgency. I usually wake up around 6 a.m. and go for a walk with the dogs. That gets me ready for the rest of the day. When I fail to do that walk, the day is, invariably, less productive. Some days, more than others, the city feels like a violent place. Don’t get me wrong, Lisbon is quite harmless. My issue is with its histrionic energy. It clashes and, some days, I’m just an outsider, failing to fit in. Those days, things feel a bit surreal, as I’m alienated, dislocated, failing to feel my body in place.
Time is the heart, the nuclear agent of the photographic moment; hence, its vital quality. Naturally, one understands that the urgency of chronological time is a subjective experience, internalized and revealed by the individual according to his own bodily and environmental time. We also know, of course, that the advent of digital photography and (increasingly) portable devices imprints an immediacy that makes photography more dependent on such and such finality and less available for the process of coming-into-being. But any language is praxis and photography is no exception to the rule.
Strategies that make the artwork’s legitimacy depend on its temporal matter have long invaded photography, whether its practice is more or less conventional, more or less professional. On the one hand, there is a whole set of stylistic resources increasingly present in the immediate dissemination of photographic images, accentuating the value of temporal immediacy and spatial proximity, thus trying to guarantee the veracity of the photographic instant, evoking an ideia of sincerity on the basis of spontaneity; on the other hand, the resurgence of handmade photography, historical processes and analogue photography, while celebrating the process of coming-into-being, re-infects the notion of aesthetic truth, putting forth an ideia of authenticity that is said to arise from the value of an unique and irreproducible print.
So I’ve been working around love, language and time this year. Maybe that’ll translate into a book entitled I’m Awake – an album of clichés -, maybe not. Whatever the outcome, it’s about slow photography, a sort of backstage of that practice. Something I base on three major principles: feeling, digesting and breathing. In other words, it is a process that seeks consent and trusts in a magic notion of unison. What I mean is that I hope to be informed by the artwork’s process of coming-into-being. It is therefore a process that, at once, values and rejects the notion of time, choosing to give space to a notion of expression that imprints the ethics of the individual who creates.
Bellow studies for Acordei para a Vida (I’m awake), an album of clichés.